Perhaps an idea about apocalyptic thought I have found most confounding—and intriguing—has been the sheer amount of thirst, or want, or desire, call it what you will, associated with believers in seeing, living, and experiencing the day of doom. End time scenarios are never quite pleasant—they always involve some degree of torment, of pain and suffering, and certainly lie in stark contrast to what we might envision as a narrative of life, love, or tolerance that might be (naively, perhaps) expected out of those claiming the Gospels as their gospel. Continue reading
Reading the Strozier essays and Glorious Appearing one after the other was a strange experience to say the least. On the one hand, reading Glorious Appearing felt like watching a particularly bad action movie. We know who the good guys are, we know who the bad guys are, and we know what the final outcome will be – we are just waiting for things to blow up and people to die. On the other hand, considering the influential role that fundamentalist Christians play in American politics, Strozier’s analysis of the fundamentalist mindset is frightening, particularly the natural progression from rigid dualistic thinking to the legitimization of violence against others. Furthermore, when I consider how many weeks that the Left Behind series spent on the New York Times Best Sellers list, it is even more disturbing to realize that there are people out there consuming the books’ moral message uncritically.
It took quite some time to get used to the tone of Glorious Appearing. As a liberal New Yorker without strong religious affiliations, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop (so to speak). This can’t be serious, I kept thinking, even though I knew the premise of the series. Continue reading
In Strozier’s astute discussion of what it means to be fundamentalist, he describes Ostow’s breakdown of apocalyptic discourse into three different categories – one type which gives hope to an oppressed or suffering group, another which is used by those Continue reading
I find myself struggling with the idea that apocalyptic thinkers are able to abandon their fears and sense of responsibility because their time construct, according to The Fundamentalist Mindset, has been dissolved by the notion of the end of days (30). While I understand why this seems to make sense, it’s difficult to believe that this shifted perspective of time manages to remove a sense of accountability to a degree that justifies or even motivates publically or individually harmful actions.
The reading mentions that these apocalyptic believers have “no fear of future consequences (except from a judging deity)…”(30). This particular passage calls attention to why the general theory seems to be flawed. The “exception” to this seemingly boundless loss of fear is the wrath and judgment of God- a pretty significant force to be reckoned with. True believers trust completely in God’s plan for them, so why, then wouldn’t the wrath and judgment of their one true object of faith be enough to dissuade them from acting recklessly against others? Continue reading
Over the past couple weeks we’ve alluded to Hitler and the Holocaust a few times. With this week’s reading, it was really all I could think about. Hitler is directly analogous to Carpathia who, in Glorious Appearing and the rest of the Left Behind series, is the Antichrist. Then in Strozier’s essays, the description of how the fundamentalist mindset exhibits violent potentials seems to resonate with Hitler’s actions towards the Jews in the Holocaust. Because of our fixation with the end of times and our curiosity in psychological reasoning, we are left to analyze his actions from a purely apocalyptic standpoint. Continue reading
As presented in Strozier’s essays, apocalyptic fundamentalism has had a great impact on human psychology. Strong Christian believers have experienced immense changes in their mentality, as well as in their attitudes toward other ways of thought. We can say that such changes in mindset definitely alter the ways in which fundamentalist groups approach the apocalyptic phenomenon, and how accepting they are of other beliefs. It is exactly these alterations that have redefined the psychology and malevolence of doomsday culture.